Governor Evers Introduces Wisconsin’s First-Ever Clean Energy Plan

Governor Evers Introduces Wisconsin’s First-Ever Clean Energy Plan

Today, Governor Tony Evers introduced Wisconsin’s first-ever Clean Energy Plan. The plan was developed with input from hundreds of stakeholders and provides a pathway for Wisconsin to build a robust clean energy workforce, save billions of dollars, and become more energy independent.

Building a Clean Energy Workforce

The Clean Energy Plan developed by Governor Evers and the Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy (OSCE) identifies opportunities to grow Wisconsin’s clean energy workforce. Wisconsin’s clean energy workforce is 76,000 strong, with good-paying, resilient jobs like installing solar and electric vehicle charging stations, servicing wind turbines, manufacturing energy storage systems, and retrofitting buildings. Wisconsin can take control of its energy future and expand local job creation by investing in renewable energy.

EnTech Solutions, a division of Faith Technologies Incorporated (FTI) based in the Fox Valley, is a leader in distributed energy capabilities, eMobility charging, innovative sustainable fuel technologies, and asset management solutions for businesses looking for reliable, clean energy solutions. “EnTech Solutions is growing to satisfy the high demand for emerging technologies like microgrids, distributed energy systems, and renewable energy EV chargers,” said Tom Clark, chief experience officer with FTI. “Our clean energy workforce develops innovative solutions to solve our customers’ energy challenges.”

The Clean Energy Plan will generate 40,000 new jobs in Wisconsin by 2030, or 6,000 new jobs per year. The plan will create a Clean Energy Workforce Advisory Council and strengthen the workforce with apprenticeship tracks and reentry training for formerly incarcerated individuals. Demand for clean energy workers in Wisconsin is high and growing. State leadership will ensure Wisconsinites have access to training and jobs to help them embark on clean energy careers.

Save Wisconsinites Money

The Clean Energy Plan will accelerate renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions in commercial, residential, and multifamily new construction. Wisconsin families and businesses can save money on monthly energy bills with renewable energy investments, energy efficiency measures, and demand response technologies.

A recent study by Synapse Energy Economics Inc. found that greater investment in Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s energy efficiency and renewable energy program, would help Wisconsin reap millions in benefits through avoided utility costs, job creation, economic investment, and reduced air emissions. Overall, the report found that if Wisconsin doubled the Focus on Energy budget, the state would receive $340 million in net benefits over one year or $3.4 billion over ten years. The expanded incentives for Focus on Energy outlined in the Clean Energy Plan would create a clean, efficient Wisconsin energy economy for everyone!

Reduce Dependence on Fuel Imports

Wisconsin can be free from the instability of oil and natural gas by investing in renewable energy and electric transportation. Wisconsin currently spends billions of dollars every year to import fossil fuels. The Clean Energy Plan will focus state investments on homegrown, renewable energy and electric vehicle infrastructure.

The Clean Energy Plan will speed the deployment of electric vehicles and charging stations around Wisconsin. The plan lays out strategies for state agencies and local governments to lead the way to build a comprehensive infrastructure for electric vehicle charging stations that will reduce the state and individual dollars spent annually on importing oil and gasoline.

We congratulate Governor Evers and all contributing stakeholders on developing this comprehensive Clean Energy Plan. RENEW is poised to help advance renewable energy, and we look forward to collaborating with state agencies and other partners to build Wisconsin’s clean energy future.

Regulatory Approval of Koshkonong Solar Project Advances Clean Energy Transition in Wisconsin

Regulatory Approval of Koshkonong Solar Project Advances Clean Energy Transition in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) approved the construction of the 300-megawatt (MW) Koshkonong Solar Energy Center in early April.

Developed by Chicago-based Invenergy LLC, this solar project will provide enough emission-free electricity to power 60,000 Wisconsin homes. It will become one of Wisconsin’s largest renewable energy generators, representing 12% of Wisconsin utility-scale solar projects that have been completed or approved as of today.

The Koshkonong Solar Energy Center will be located in southeast Dane County. In addition to the 300 MW of solar power, the project will feature a 165 MW battery storage component to help bolster grid reliability. WEC Energy Group and Madison Gas and Electric intend to buy the plant for $649 million.

“This project accelerates the state’s and the region’s transition to clean energy,” said Heather Allen, Executive Director at RENEW Wisconsin. “With enough capacity to provide one-fourth of the local solar needed to meet Dane County’s Climate Action Plan, Koshkonong’s approval is a major milestone in the transition to energy independence for the region.”

When energized, the project will generate $1.2 million per year in new revenue for local governments, in addition to lease payments to local landowners. Construction is expected to begin later this year and will likely become operational in 2025.

“The energy storage component of the project will provide up to 660 megawatt-hours of energy storage per day, or approximately the equivalent battery storage capacity of 6,000 electric vehicles,” Allen added. “Battery energy storage adds more flexibility to the project, allowing for energy use when it is needed most.”

Koshkonong is the fourth solar generation project proposed by Invenergy to receive construction approval from Wisconsin regulators and the third to be combined with an energy storage component. The four solar projects developed by Invenergy—Badger Hollow, Paris, Darien, and now Koshkonong—will comprise 1,050 MW of generating capacity when completed. The energy storage facility at Koshkonong will be the largest of its kind in Wisconsin.

In a separate proceeding, WEC Energy Group and Madison Gas and Electric seek permission to add the Koshkonong Solar Energy Center to their growing portfolio of renewable generating plants. The PSC will likely rule on this application before the end of this year.

In the technical hearing leading up to the PSC’s decision, RENEW provided expert testimony documenting the public benefits to be delivered by the Koshkonong solar and storage project. These benefits include:

  • Displacing fossil generation with a zero-carbon source of electricity over its 30-year+ lifetime;
  • Providing firm capacity at a Dane County location for replacing the 1,100 MW Columbia coal-fired power plant scheduled for retirement in 2024; and
  • Supporting Wisconsin’s farm economy through lease payments to participating landowners and new revenues to local governments hosting the project.

Wisconsin currently has over 510 MW of completed utility-scale solar projects with nearly 2000 MW more approved. This upward trajectory of utility-scale solar projects will help Wisconsin meet its 100% carbon-free goals.

Clean Energy Legislative Issue Summary • 2021-22 was the start of something big

Clean Energy Legislative Issue Summary • 2021-22 was the start of something big

The 2021-22 legislative session in Wisconsin is now over. It was a busy session for clean energy initiatives with legislation introduced to allow more community solar, clarify the rules for leasing solar equipment, and update the regulations for electric vehicle (EV) chargers. Most of these bills were bipartisan, with support on both sides of the aisle. See the bottom of this article for a summary of this year’s major clean energy legislation.

The session started when Governor Tony Evers introduced his 2021-23 Budget Bill in February 2021. It included 28 provisions (many of them drawn from the Governor’s Taskforce on Climate Change) that would have advanced Wisconsin’s clean energy and energy efficiency. Among those provisions were recommendations to expand Focus on Energy, invest in the clean energy workforce, and support Wisconsin’s electric vehicle infrastructure. Unfortunately, by the time the Governor signed the Budget in July, those provisions were removed from the Budget and did not pass.

On November 15, several Democratic legislators introduced a package of 22 bills called Forward on Climate. The package proposed increased funding for Focus on Energy, on-bill financing of energy efficiency improvements from utilities, and a Wisconsin Climate Corp to provide training and opportunities in clean energy industries for Wisconsin’s youth. The session ended without any of these bills being adopted. Still, it outlined what kinds of initiatives they support to create good, family-supporting jobs, reduce inequality, and fight climate change through Wisconsin-centered policies.

What passed and what progress was made?

The only major clean energy bill that passed this session was a bill to modernize the PACE financing program. However, many clean energy initiatives made in-roads with legislators from both sides of the aisle. The new technology developments and dropping prices for renewable energy over the last few years is an excellent story for reducing emissions, bolstering economic growth, diminishing energy prices, and creating jobs. Even if there are still hurdles to overcome, everyone is interested in learning more.

There is growing interest among a wide range of stakeholders in clean energy legislation. The best example is SB 490, the community solar bill, where many diverse interests have registered in support. While some groups have expressed concerns with the bill, most business and public interest groups who registered support this kind of change.

Even though we didn’t pass them this session, electric vehicle legislation is also getting attention, especially in light of the volatile gas prices this year. As the price of EV battery production falls, the initial price of EVs will get more competitive, making the cost of EV operations compared to petroleum-powered vehicles very attractive.

The EV transition is coming fast, and we need to be ready. We need to finalize the rules and regulations over EV charging, determine how to pay for the roads if the gas tax generates less income, and streamline the buying process for new EVs coming into the market. One of the big things happening in the coming year is the millions in federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act money coming to Wisconsin for EV infrastructure. We need to work with all stakeholders to ensure that Wisconsin can utilize that money efficiently.

What happens next?

Over the summer and fall, RENEW Wisconsin will meet with candidates running for state and federal office. We will be educating them about new developments in clean energy and electric vehicles and discussing essential policy changes we need to make these advances available to everyone in Wisconsin.

You can also do your part by getting involved in your local elections, talking to your local candidates, and supporting the candidates who support clean energy with your votes, time, and financial contributions. This time of year, candidates are especially interested in what you have to say and will take the time to listen. Clean energy can have a big year in 2023, but only if we do the work this year to educate and help elect candidates who will support us!

If you would like information on any clean energy issues or the elections, please contact Jim Boullion, Director of Government Affairs, jim@renewwisconsin.org,

2021-22 Wisconsin Legislative Session

Clean Energy and Electric Vehicle Issue Summary

PACE Financing Modernization(SB 692/Wisconsin Act 175Sen. Cowles and Rep. Thiesfeldt)

  1. Expands type of projects that may be financed: Adds energy reliability improvements, weather-related resiliency projects, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and stormwater control measures.
  2. Financing: Defines the term of the repayment period, clarifies that financing may be repaid through a lien, and ensures that mortgage holders provide written consent before the issuance of funding.
  3. Performance Requirements: Removes the requirement for project savings to exceed project costs and would instead require a third-party assessment of the anticipated energy and water cost savings from the proposed project and confirmation of proper installation after work is completed.
  4. Excludes Residential PACE: Prohibits PACE financing for residential units of less than five units. PACE loans will remain only for commercial or industrial buildings.

Assembly:  Passed on voice vote (2/23/2022) and sent to Governor for signature.
Senate: Passed 32-0 on 2/15/22.
RENEW Position:  Support.


EV Charging Rules – (SB 573 – Sen. Cowles and Rep. VanderMeer) Clarify that selling electricity by the kilowatt-hour to electric vehicles (EVs) does not subject EV charging station owners to utility regulation. No city, village, town, county, school district, special purpose district, or state agency may own, operate, manage, lease or control a charging facility. Local governments can authorize a utility or private entity to operate a charger on their property. Requires that all energy come from the local utility, limiting Solar+Storage EV charger availability.

Senate: Passed on vote of 19-13 (2/15/2022). Did not concur with Assembly Amended bill 3/8/22
Assembly: Passed on voice vote, with amendment, (2/24/22). Failed to pass.
RENEW Position: Oppose due to restrictions on non-utility energy sources and restrictions on the State and local governments from owning or operating EV chargers.


Expanded Development of Community Solar – (SB 490 / AB 527 – Sen. Stroebel and Rep. Ramthun)  Would authorize the development of non-utility-owned community solar projects, allowing more individuals and businesses to access clean energy, save money and create good-paying jobs. Require local investor-owned utilities (Cooperative and municipal utility territories would be exempt) to provide credits on utility bills of subscribers for the energy generated by the system. Directs the PSC to develop rules that will establish fair credit rates and compensation to utilities for the use of utility infrastructure and billing.

Assembly: Energy and Utilities. Failed to pass.
Senate: Utilities, Technology, and Telecommunications. Failed to pass.
RENEW Position: Support


3rd Party Financing/Leasing – (SB 702 / AB 731– Sen. Cowles and Rep. Cabral-Guevara) Clarify that 3rd party financing/leasing of renewable energy equipment is legal in Wisconsin.

Assembly: Energy and Utilities. Failed to pass.
Senate: Utilities, Technology, and Telecommunications. Failed to pass.
RENEW Position: Support


Energy Storage Sales Tax Exemption – (SB 672 /AB 710Sen. Cowles and Rep. Duchow) Clarify that battery storage devices installed as part of a renewable energy system should be included in the sales tax exemption for renewable energy system equipment.

Assembly: Committee on Ways and Means. Failed to pass.
Senate: Committee on Financial Institutions and Revenue. Failed to pass.
RENEW Position: Support


Use $10 million of VW Settlement Funds for EV Charging Station Grants – (SB 663/AB 695 – Sen. Cowles and Rep. VanderMeer) Grants from these funds will be used to install electric vehicle charging stations at key locations throughout Wisconsin. Requires the PSC and DOT to study how the growing number of EVs will impact the transportation fund and determine methods to ensure they contribute to that fund equitably. Grant recipients can only resell electricity obtained from the local electric utility. $5m for EV Corridors; $3m for businesses or multifamily; $2m to be determined by PSC.

Senate: Committee on Transportation and Local Government. Passed committee 5-0. Failed to pass.
Assembly: Committee on Energy and Utilities. Failed to pass.
RENEW Position: Support


Direct Purchase of Electric Vehicles –  (SB 462 / AB 439 Sen. Kooyenga and Rep. Neylon) Would enable electric vehicle manufacturers to deliver and service vehicles in Wisconsin using online sales or manufacturer-owned dealerships without going through a 3rd party dealership.

Senate: Senate Gov. Operations Committee. Passed Committee 4-1. Failed to pass.
Assembly: Committee on Transportation. Failed to pass.
RENEW Position: Support


Create a System to Measure Carbon Emissions for Animal Agriculture Operators. (SB1054 / AB 1072 – Sen. Cowles and Rep. Tauchen).  

  1. DATCP shall establish voluntary and market-driven standards for quantifying the carbon emissions produced directly and indirectly from an animal agriculture operator’s activity.
  2. DATCP must facilitate trade in products and services related to transactions between animal agriculture operators and other parties for carbon emission offsets and may operate an electronic marketplace for selling and purchasing carbon emission offsets.
  3. PSC shall develop a statewide master plan for collecting, transporting, and commercializing renewable natural gas produced from animal wastes, biomass, and other organic sources.
  4. PSC will establish standardized power purchase agreements and standardized agreements for the provision of energy as a service between animal agriculture operators and electric utilities

Assembly: Committee on Energy and Utilities. Failed to pass.
Senate: Committee on Natural Resources and Energy. Failed to pass.
RENEW Position: Support

Senate Votes Against Electric Vehicle Charging Legislation

Senate Votes Against Electric Vehicle Charging Legislation

Yesterday, in a unanimous vote of 31-0 (2 not voting), the State Senate voted against concurrence in the Assembly amended version of the EV charging bill, SB 573. The bill aimed to define who can provide EV charging services, how customers will pay for it, and the electricity source for the chargers.

Wisconsin law does not have specific guidance on EV charging, so non-utility-owned EV charging stations set their fees on a per-minute basis, not on the amount of energy delivered. This policy results in owners of slower charging vehicles paying more for power than owners of fast charging vehicles. SB 573 would have allowed businesses to set fees based on the amount of electricity used, but several provisions to the bill concerned clean energy advocates.

“While this bill addressed some of the issues with current policy, it would have also disincentivized solar-powered EV chargers and severely limited local government investment in EV charging,” said Heather Allen, Executive Director at RENEW Wisconsin. “RENEW Wisconsin opposed SB 573 in its current form and applauds yesterday’s Senate decision.”

SB 573 would have prohibited charging a fee if any non-utility-generated electricity was provided through a non-utility-owned EV station. The provision would limit the use of rooftop solar and stand-alone solar+storage EV charging equipment in Wisconsin, which provides numerous benefits such as controlling energy costs, facilitating EV charging in rural areas, increasing resilience and safety, and providing carbon-free electricity.

The restrictions on local government ownership or operation of publicly available EV chargers would have reduced access to EV chargers in many underserved areas because revenue from electricity sales alone may not generate enough income to justify private business investment in small towns, urban streets, or other locations. Local government participation allows EV infrastructure to expand in areas where private businesses are not investing.

“While this particular legislation did not pass, the issues the bill was attempting to resolve remains unsettled,” said Jim Boullion, Director of Government Affairs at RENEW Wisconsin. “RENEW Wisconsin will continue to work towards better policies that help everyone in Wisconsin benefit from the fast-developing electric vehicle revolution.”

Critical Infrastructure Microgrid and Community Resilience Center Pilot Grant Program

Critical Infrastructure Microgrid and Community Resilience Center Pilot Grant Program

RENEW Wisconsin friends, don’t miss out!

The Wisconsin Office of Energy Innovation is currently accepting Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for the Critical Infrastructure Microgrid and Community Resilience Center Pilot Grant Program.

The Pilot seeks proposals that focus on innovative pre-disaster mitigation strategies through critical infrastructure microgrids and other resiliency projects, including the feasibility of distributed energy resources, storage, and grid-interactive schema.

Eligible applicants consist of Municipalities, Universities, Schools, Hospitals, and Like Entities (MUSH Market), and the Public Service Commission (PSC) has allocated up to $985,000 for the Pilot round of funding.

Applications are due Friday, August 6, 2021, by noon Central. Note that interested parties must create an Electronic Records Filing (ERF) account to submit materials. More information on how to create an ERF account can be found here.

For more information regarding the grant program, including eligible applicants and activities, please see the Critical Infrastructure Microgrid & Community Resilience Center Pilot Grant Application Instructions.

Department of Energy Funding for Battery Industry Partnerships and a Request for Information on Electric Vehicle Grid Integration

Department of Energy Funding for Battery Industry Partnerships and a Request for Information on Electric Vehicle Grid Integration

Further demonstrating its commitment to electric vehicle innovation, including domestic battery supply chain, energy storage, and electric vehicle grid integration, the Department of Energy (DoE) announced last week a Request for Information (RFI) for Electric Vehicle (EV) Grid Integration and $200 million in funding for electric vehicles, batteries, and connected vehicles projects at DoE national labs.

Complimenting the Vehicle Technologies Office’s $62 million in funding for low emissions transportation projects, the $200 million funding opportunity focuses on electric and connected vehicle projects, and supports battery sourcing innovations – like sustainable mining and battery recycling – which strengthen the domestic lithium battery market, insulate against foreign battery supply chain disruptions, and further the goals of the DoE’s Energy Storage Grand Challenge. The funding is open to DOE’s network of 17 national laboratories and followed recommendations from the Federal Consortium for Advanced Batteries’ recently released National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries 2021-2030.

The DoE also released an RFI for EV Grid Integration, exploring the relationship between increased EV penetration and potential grid impacts and resiliency. DoE is requesting information from stakeholders on the following issues:

  • Use of EVs to maintain the reliability of the electric grid
  • Impact of grid integration on EVs
  • Increased penetration of EVs and associated impacts on grid
  • Standards to integrate EVs with the grid, including communications systems, protocols, and charging stations
  • Cybersecurity challenges resulting from transportation electrification

The RFI for EV Grid Integration is not a funding opportunity. However, information collected may be used by DoE in its “Vehicles to Grid Integration Assessment Report” to Congress.

For more information on both opportunities, please visit the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.